Is your blog a hot mess? It happens to the best of us – as you add new content, things tend to get a little messy. Use these 5 blog organization ideas to bring structure to your chaos.
A blog is a content manager – a place to stash your blog posts.
Think of it like a library of everything you have ever written.
What if you walked into your library and there were shelves of books with no “card catalog”?
You would get frustrated and you would probably leave.
Well, your readers need a modern day card catalog for your blog.
They need an easy way to find what they are looking for – otherwise they, too, will leave.
If you don't organize your blog, it will turn into a pile of digital clutter that is virtually unusable.
To have a well organized blog, you need to start with your goals in mind.
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Set Your Blog Organization Goals
The mistake that a lot of bloggers make is that they try to organize their blogs by type of content rather than by the way their readers will use the content.
It is tempting to put everything into specific little buckets to keep things neat and tidy.
But this takes a lot of time and creates a complicated hierarchy and structure most readers don't look at anyway.
So, let's take a look at some basic goals that most bloggers will have for their content.
You want a solid blog structure that will:
- help your readers find relevant blog posts
- tell the search engines what your blog is all about and
- make your blog infinitely more useful to YOU as you create promotions and new content.
How can you accomplish this?
Use these 5 blog organization ideas to help.
1. Use A Search Box
WordPress has a built-in tool to make it easy for people to find your stuff.
It is a search box widget, and it still amazes me when I come across a site that doesn't use one.
Stick it in your sidebar or footer (that is where mine is right now) and forget about it.
People might be coming to your site because they
- remember an article that they read at some point and they want to refer back to it,
- know that you write about a particular topic and they want to see everything that you have written about it.
Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for by using that search box.
2. Use Blog Categories Wisely
As you write posts it is really tempting to create new blog categories on the fly.
We've all been there.
Whatever we are writing about doesn't exactly fit into one of our existing categories, so we make a new one.
Pretty soon we end up with a million very similar categories called “Inspirational Books”, “Book Reviews”, and “Non-fiction Books”, for example.
Ruth Soukup at Elite Blog Academy has a great free worksheet called “Blog Structure Blueprint”.
Head over there, download your copy, print it out, and get to work.
Use categories that fit under one content umbrella and that showcase what you have to offer your readers.
Write your final, master list of categories down on a sheet of paper and stick it right next to your computer.
Don't give in to the temptation to add more categories randomly.
3. Create Meaningful Tags
To organize your blog, you need to get a handle on both your categories and your tags.
In my opinion, categories and tags are two of the most confusing areas in WordPress altogether.
For me, categories are the umbrellas that hold my content – and I pay very close attention to these.
I use categories with my readers in mind.
Tags, on the other hand, are more for my own internal use.
Take affiliate marketing, for example.
I work with many affiliate programs and I often write articles that feature these affiliates. (See my Affiliate Program Directory here.)
I will often tag articles with the name of the affiliate program that I am featuring.
In the future, if there is a special promotion, I can easily find the articles I need and insert the new information.
Or, take recipes, for example.
On my other blog, I have a “Desserts” category – but I will tag a recipe with the words “cookies”, or “pies”, etc.
I might use tags for certain ingredients or kitchen equipment that I use.
I also have my tag pages set to no index – so the search engines don't pick them up.
4. Declutter Your Sidebar
Blog sidebars can be a little Vegas sometimes.
It is a great place to shove some ads, social widgets, and other visual clutter.
You really need to have some sidebar goals (yes, that is a thing).
If you have ads in your sidebar, you need to make sure that you are actually making money from those ads – or they are just wasted space.
Evaluate what you have in your sidebar and make some hard decisions about why you have something there and whether to change it up or not.
Keep in mind that on mobile devices your sidebar gets pushed to the bottom of your content – so most people don't see it anyway.
5. Create a Table of Contents for Your Blog
Once you organize your blog categories, you can display these in a table of contents in your sidebar.
While it can take up a lot of valuable sidebar space, this table of contents is useful to both your readers and the search engines.
The search spiders can follow through each category and find old content that is buried deep in your blog.
Real people, on the other hand, can easily see what you write about.
How Do You Organize Your Blog?
When it comes to blogging, WordPress gives you several tools to create order from chaos:
- A search box widget
- Sidebars (depending on your theme – I use the Monochrome Pro theme)
- Table of Contents (you can use the Categories widget or create a more visually appealing TOC on your own)
What techniques have you used to organize your blog?
Let me know in the comments below.